WW2 Books Worth a Damn: Das Boot (The Boat)

 

“The thrilling wartime novel that inspired Wolfgang Petersen’s Academy Award-nominated, blockbuster film! Written by an actual survivor of Germany’s U-boat fleet, Das Boot is one of the most exciting stories of naval warfare ever published, a tale filled with almost unbearable tension and suspense. In autumn 1941, a German U-boat commander and his crew set out on yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks they brave the ocean’s stormy waters and seek out British supply ships to destroy. But their targets travel in well-guarded convoys. When contact finally occurs, the hunter quickly becomes the hunted, and a cat-and-mouse game begins as the U-boat hides deep beneath the surface of the sea. Soon, claustrophobia becomes an enemy almost as frightening as the depth charges exploding around them.”

As far as World War Two Novels go, Das Boot is one of the most thrilling in my opinion. The author, Lothar Gunther Buckheim was a member of the Kriegsmarine during WW2 and survivor of the U-Boat force.

I say “survivor” because of the 40,000 men that served on the U-boat’s, 30,000 did not return home. You read that right. The German U-boat force in WW2 had a 75% casualty rate, the highest of ANY unit during the war, including front line Soviet troops on the Eastern Front and at Stalingrad.

I would also highly recommend the 1981 Movie directed by Wolfgang Petersen and starring Jurgen Prochnow in the lead role as the skipper.

 

Know Your History: The Devil’s Brigade and the Johnson M1941 LMG

DEVIL’S BRIGADE SECRET WEAPON: THE JOHNSON M1941 LMG

 

For those not familiar with the history of the 1st Special Service Force.

Though deemed not as reliable as other Standard issue LMG’s of the period, the Johnson M1941 had it’s perks.

The 5cm Granatwerfer 36

Know Your Obscure WW2 Weapons:

Weapons and Warfare

Diagram of German M19 5cm automatic mortar as sited in the Channel Islands and at points on the Atlantic Wall.

From the very start of the war, the German Army placed a great deal of store in mortars of various calibres and deployed them to every theatre of war, from North Africa to the Balkans and north-west Europe. The lightest calibre mortar produced expressly for the German Army was the 5cm leichte Granatwerfer 36 (leGrW36), which had a weight in action of 30.9lbs, considerably heavier than anything used by the Allied armies. Despite this it fired a HE bomb of just under 2lbs in weight, which was less than the weight of the bombs fired by the British 2in mortar or the Japanese Model Type 98 of comparable calibre. At the start of the war, the leGrW36 was standard equipment with every platoon within an infantry regiment of the German…

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A LOT OF LUCK AND A JAGDPANTHER

Never Say Die.
As Long as you Got Ammo and Breath, Keep Fighting!

Weapons and Warfare

BixH-1

Oberfeldwebel Hermann Bix, tank commander in Panzer-Regiment 35

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The Rearguard by David Pentland.
reussisch Stargard, East Prussia, February 1945. Following the departure of the platoon’s two other vehicles, after expending all their ammunition, the single Jagdpanther of Oberfeldwebel Hermann Bix remained to cover the withdrawal of all supporting infantry in the area. Hidden behind a muck heap, with only twenty armour piercing and five high explosive shells remaining he made the attacking Soviet Shermans pay a heavy price, destroying sixteen of their number before he too fell back out of ammunition.

We were really upset when we did not receive the accustomed and promised Panzer V’s and were issued instead the Jagdpanther, which could not be sent to an assault-gun battalion as a result of the general chaos.

Out of necessity, we then took a closer look at the new gear. The crates did not have a turret. You had…

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The Cavalry of the Wehrmacht Book Review

I am always on the lookout for the more obscure WW2 books and this looks to be fascinating.

Inch High Guy

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The Cavalry of the Wehrmacht 1941-1945

By Klaus Christian Richter

Hardcover in dustjacket, 208 pages, heavily illustrated

Published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd January 2004

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0887408141

ISBN-13: 978-0887408144

Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches

Some of the lesser-known formations in the Wehrmacht order battle consisted of traditional horse cavalry units.  After the First World War the Reichsheer possessed eighteen Cavalry Regiments totaling 16,400 men.  These were organized along the lines of standard infantry regiments with integral supporting formations such as artillery, communications, anti-tank, and anti-aircraft.  Cavalry brigades fought in Poland, Holland, Belgium, and France.  Several of these units were amalgamated to form the 1st Cavalry Division in October 1940.  The division fought during the invasion of Russia, but was reorganized to form the 24th Panzer Division during the winter of 41-42.

At this point the remaining cavalry strength of the Wehrmacht was disbursed into divisional…

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